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What We Celebrate On Cinco de Mayo

By Tribune Travel

April 13, 2022

When studying Mexico history facts, you’ll come across recognizable holidays. Cinco de Mayo is one of them. As you learn about what Cinco de Mayo commemorates, you’ll find out how many myths surround this event. Cinco de Mayo, which is Spanish for May 5th, is a well-known festival in the United States. However, few are aware of its original background. The Battle of Puebla was one of Mexico’s successes against the French army in the 1800s. That is what Cinco de Mayo commemorates on this date. Knowing basic Cinco de Mayo facts will help you enjoy Mexican culture as you eat tacos and sip margaritas on May 5.

cinco de mayo

Mexico’s Independence Day

Many people believe Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the country’s independence from Spain because of its popularity. However, one surprising fact about Mexico is that Independence Day is actually September 16. In 1810, Miguel Hidalgo delivered a rallying grito, or cry, that inspired the country to fight for independence. Mexicans reenact this cry every year in local festivals and from Mexico City’s National Palace. There are several Mexico historical facts regarding this battle. One is that Miguel Hidalgo did not live to see his country attain independence.

You may also like: St. Patrick’s Battalion in Mexico

What Cinco de Mayo means

Independence, like in many other countries, led to internal instability and debt. Thus, in the 1860s, France saw an opportunity to establish another colony. On May 5, 1862, a French force approached the major city of Puebla, expecting an easy win. Unlike France’s highly trained infantry, Mexico was defended by a ragged but zealous band of indigenous soldiers. They were able to defend Puebla and repel French troops in a single day. This is known as the Battle of Puebla, and it is the most significant Cinco de Mayo fact.

France attempted to invade several times to install a ruler friendly to French interests. However, Mexico didn’t evict the invaders until 1867. The Battle of Puebla was a tiny but crucial victory against the French. It demonstrated that its people could not be subjugated, and the Cinco de Mayo tradition celebrates this spirit.

cinco de mayo parade

How Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Mexico does not celebrate Cinco de Mayo as you may think. While many people in the United States celebrate Mexican heritage on May 5, Cinco de Mayo is not a federal holiday in Mexico. In fact, most families have a typical day, with businesses and banks remaining open. In order to witness how Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo, you should go to the city of Puebla. There was the focus of the war, and today, reenactments and military parades commemorate the historic victory.

You may want to compare Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Mexico to those in the United States. It also may surprise you that it has become such a well-known festival. The history of Cinco de Mayo in the United States stems from the work of Chicano activists in the 1960s. They popularized the festival as a way to commemorate Mexican culture and heritage. Today, the activities and celebrations center on honoring Mexican identity. Discovering more and more intriguing information about Mexico can help you appreciate this event.

The Battle of Puebla exemplifies Mexicans’ strong independence and intense love for their country, and the holiday is all about commemorating this culture and tradition.





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